‘There is so much to discover in Qatar’
With the FIFA World Cup 2022™ just months away, football fans across the globe are preparing to visit Qatar and be part of the biggest sporting event on the planet.
Having local knowledge about Qatar is valuable and the country’s diverse communities have proven ideal ambassadors for fans planning to visit the country in November and December.
Argentinean Matias Freije has spent the last seven years in Qatar working as an equine veterinarian. The father of three cannot wait for this year’s tournament and believes fans will love both the football and all of the country’s exciting tourist attractions.
How would you describe the lifestyle here in Qatar?
I would describe it as very easygoing. It is very safe and a good place to raise children. It is also interesting, as I’ve discovered new things that are different to our culture. We have met a lot of people who have a different way of living, so you learn about other cultures.
What do you most enjoy doing here in Qatar?
I am a sports lover, so I am able to take part in many different sports here. Everything is close, so you have access to so many different things. Even with the big sports events, we can get to see them easily. That is something I like – having everything in close proximity. Whether it is football, tennis or golf, you can easily book tickets and attend these events.
In your opinion, what are the ‘must-see’ places to visit in Qatar?
We’ve had many visitors from Argentina and our usual plan is to visit the desert for dune bashing and camel riding, and also go to Souq Waqif, the traditional market place. We also visit the Corniche and Al Bidda Park, which is amazing now. The museums are also brilliant, and Katara and The Pearl are very nice. There are also many excellent beaches in the country. There is so much to discover in Qatar.
What football events have you had the opportunity to attend here in Qatar?
I remember the first match I attended here was a friendly involving Inter Milan. I then went to the FIFA Club World Cup in 2019, which Flamengo played in. I’ve also gone to see Al Sadd many times, including Asian Champions League matches. During the FIFA Arab Cup, I watched a match at Stadium 974. The last match I attended was in March at Education City, which was a friendly involving Croatia.
What advice would you give fans that are coming to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup™?
It will be busy – but also easy for people to get around, as everything is close by. Fans will need to have their Hayya Card and accommodation before coming. They will have the chance to attend a lot of matches, as they will be close to all the stadiums. Even if fans only come for a few days, there will be plenty for them to do.
Have many family and friends in Argentina been in touch with you about staying at your house during the FIFA World Cup™?
Family and friends have been asking me about this for years! It is a long way for Argentineans, but of course, they will come from all over the world. I’m expecting my family to visit during the World Cup and I’m looking forward to hosting them.
Argentina will play their FIFA World Cup™ group matches at Lusail Stadium and Stadium 974. Are you looking forward to taking in the atmosphere at these venues?
That first match against Saudi Arabia is going to be full of Argentinians and Saudis, so I’m sure it will be a great experience. I’m excited to see Lusail because it is a very big stadium. Stadium 974 is a totally different stadium experience to what I’ve seen before. It is like being in a different place to a stadium – unusual but interesting at the same time.
How do you think Argentina will do at Qatar 2022? Can La Albiceleste win a third FIFA World Cup™ title in the Middle East and Arab world?
Everybody in Argentina hopes we can win but the World Cup is not easy. You have to be at your best in every match and have a bit of luck as well. I hope we at least reach the final. I have high expectations, as we have a good team – not just good individual players. The head coach, Lionel Scaloni, has done a good job with the team and they have gained confidence. After winning the Copa America last year, they will believe that they can win the World Cup.